Your Weekend at the Movies with Formidable Old Dudes

02/19/2010 8:50 AM |

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Pretty simple stuff this weekend: thriller versus thriller, auteur versus auteur, good rep versus, well, yikes.

Shutter Island: I am really excited to see a new Martin Scorsese Picture, especially one that looks kind of wild and pulpy. I am less excited, however, than I would’ve been back in October when it was supposed to come out, before I saw approximately four hundred more trailers. Seriously, I have most of that shit memorized: “We are duly appointed federal mahshalls,” “it’s as if she evaporated, straight through the walls,” and “pull yahself together, Teddy,” among others, have become de facto catchphrases for me, all in the name of waiting even longer for this movie.

Supposedly Paramount made the move because they didn’t want to spend the money on an awards campaign for a movie that skews more commercial than prestigious. I wonder: did they forget about how this year there are ten Best Picture nominees and now one of them is The Blind Side and another one is District 9? And how another one is animated and still another is the least accessible Coen Brothers movie since The Man Who Wasn’t There? (No slag on the Academy for nominating any of these movies—since I haven’t seen The Blind Side and the rest are fine or better—but clearly with so many slots this wasn’t the most cutthroat competition ever.) Anyway, what’s done is done, and good for Marty to not enter the awards fray after so much time spent chasing gold last decade.

The Ghost Writer: Boy, this Roman Polanski fellow has a familiar-sounding name. I can’t figure where I’ve heard of him before. Oh, that’s right: he directed The Ninth Gate. Oh and also some masterpieces? Oh and also raped someone? Sigh. Not to get all moralist, but I find it kind of weird the amount of whining other artists—including Scorsese, even! Where’s your Catholic guilt, Marty?—do on Polanski’s behalf given that, well, OK, no need to get into all of this. I can find latter-day Polanski plenty overrated without his past transgressions. I was never that taken with The Pianist; I don’t count it among the aforementioned masterpieces and tend to prefer him in noirish and/or creepy mode, which makes me interested in Ghost Writer until I remember that Ninth Gate thing, which I’m sure has its passionate defenders because Polanksi is one of those directors who attracts passionate defenders. What I’m saying is, reviews of this movie may be murky, because it’s hard to tell who’s just in the tank for the dude (or who might have it out for him), but honestly, I think his personal issues, if anything, make his supporters more obstinate in their support. So I’ll see it for a more arbitrary reason: Ewan McGregor isn’t forced to do an American accent!